Director of Research & Senior Fellow
Scott Atran is Senior Research Fellow, Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford and Co-Founder, Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Oxford. He is tenured as Research Director in Anthropology at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, Institut Jean Nicod-Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris. He also holds positions as Presidential Scholar, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York; and Visiting Prof., Psychology and Public Policy, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Scott has experimented extensively on the ways scientists and ordinary people categorize and reason about nature, on the cognitive and evolutionary psychology of religion, and on the limits of rational choice in political and cultural conflict. He often briefs members of government on the The Devoted Actor versus the Rational Actor in Managing World Conflict, on the Comparative Anatomy and Evolution of Global Network Terrorism, and on Pathways to and from Violent Extremism. He has been engaged in conflict negotiations in the Middle East, and in the establishment of indigenously managed forest reserves for Native American peoples.
Scott is a recurrent contributor to the The New York Times, Foreign Policy and Psychology Today, as well as to professional journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Behavioral and Brain Sciences. His publications include Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science (Cambridge Univ. Press), In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (Oxford Univ. Press), The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature (MIT Press), and Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists (HarperCollins & Penguin). His work and life have been featured around the world, including a cover story of the New York Times Magazine and by Reuters, AP, Agence France-Presse, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, Discover, Scientific American, New Scientist, The Guardian, Financial Times, El Mundo & El País (Spain), Nouvel Observateur & La Recherche (France), Der Spiegel (Germany), Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy), BBC World Service, CTV (Canada), NPR, ABC, MSNBC, FOX and CNN.
Scott received his B.A. and PhD. in anthropology from Columbia University and an M.A. in social relations from Johns Hopkins.